Rumour Mill: Stefan Johansen | Celtic | Hearts

Georgios Samaras: Atletico Madrid and Trabzonspor racing to sign Greek striker. Picture: SNS
Georgios Samaras: Atletico Madrid and Trabzonspor racing to sign Greek striker. Picture: SNS
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As Celtic close in on midfielder Stefan Johansen, Georgios Samaras inches closer to the exit; Dean Shiels demands pay-off from Rangers as Hibs signal interest; hope for Hearts as SPFL chief says they may consider allowing club to buy players, plus all the rest of today’s news and gossip

Celtic close in on Stefan Johansen

Celtic are set to bid for Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen in the next few days in order to fend off rivals for the playmaker’s signature. The Stromsgodset player, rated at £2 million, is being monitored by Aston Villa, Everton and Roma.

But Lennon indicated that Johansen is a priority for his side, saying: “I don’t know how far down the road we are, but maybe we could move on it this week. That’s all I can say on it. There is an interest there and we have made an enquiry, but that’s as far as it’s gone.” (The Sun)

Race for Georgios Samaras heats up

Atletico Madrid and Trabzonspor are leading the race to sign Celtic striker Georgios Samaras. The Spanish side are understood to have been in talks with Samaras’ representatives for a number of weeks, and are expected to offer a deal to the Greek international within a matter of days. Trabzonspor have entered the fray more recently, having made contact about Samaras’ availability in the last 48 hours.

Because Trabzonspor have indicated a willingness to buy Samaras in January, Celtic will be expected to try to sell Samaras to the Turkish side rather than let him leave for nothing in the summer. (Daily Record)

SPFL say there is still hope for Hearts on signing embargo

The SPFL have told Hearts that there may still be a chance of overturning the transfer embargo currently placed on the club - so long as they can prove that exceptinal circumstances apply to a signing.

Though Hearts are ostensibly banned for signing players until they emerge from administration, the SPFL are prepared to review potential signings on a case-by-case basis, and will assess each transfer on its individual merits.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “The rules are in place that a club can’t sign players while they are in administration.

“A club, however, can apply to sign players on an individual basis and it is then up to the board to make a decision on whether or not they should be registered.” (Daily Express)

Swansea targeting Hearts’ Adam King

Swansea are set to give Hearts a boost by bidding for highly-rated midfielder Adam King. The 18-year-old, who is expected to be the subject of a £200,000 bid from the Premier League side, was first sounded out about a move in the summer, and Swansea made contact with Hearts again about a transfer.

However, King has said he wants to help Hearts stay in the Scottish Premier League as Gary Locke faces losing a key member of a threadbare squad, with a fresh bid to overturn a transfer embargo set to fail. (Daily Record)

Dean Shiels demands Rangers pay-off

Dean Shiels, who is a target for Hibernian, has demanded a £200,000 pay-off from Rangers before joining the Scottish Premier League side. Shiels has fallen out of favour with Ally McCoist and is expected to be one of the victims of Rangers’ cost-cutting drive as they strive to reduce their fixed costs.

But Shiels is to demand compensation for agreeing to end his four-year deal early, which was only signed in August. The Northern Ireland midfielder currently earns around £7,000 a week for Rangers. (Daily Mail)

James McFadden: I considered quitting football

Motherwell striker James McFadden has revealed how he nearly quit football. The former Scotland international, 30, was struggling for form and fitness last year, but McFadden said he could not have justified retiring.

He said: “You always have doubts. When you are not playing, it is horrible. Everything goes through your head. You are low, the team is playing well and you want to be a part of it but you’re not.”

He added: “I couldn’t have walked away. You hear people who have finished their career early and they say how much they regretted it.” (The Sun)

Hughes looks to lure Russell Latapy to Inverness

JOHN Hughes hopes to be reunited with his old Hibernian team-mate Russell Latapy by tempting the former Trinidad and Tobago international to Inverness to become his assistant manager.

Latapy, who also played for Hughes during his time in charge of Falkirk, is currently in a coaching post in Portugal with Boavista, but the Inverness manager is hopeful he can persuade him to return to Scotland to be his No 2.

“Russell is my number one target,” Hughes told BBC Scotland. “He is currently working at Boavista in Portugal but is in Scotland at the moment doing his pro licence.” (Scotsman)


• Aiden McGeady has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Everton in the summer. The Spartak Moscow winger has fallen out with head coach Valery Karpin, and has been told he can leave the club. (The Sun)

• Rudi Skacel is set for his fourth spell in Scottish football - with Alloa. The 34-year-old is set to pen a short-term deal to reunite with old team-mate Paul Hartley. (The Sun)

• Hearts are set to fail in a bid to bring Andy Driver back to the club. The Tynecastle side attempted to exploit a registration loophole to bring Driver to the club, who is currently a free agent and back from a spell in the MLS with Houston Dynamo. But the club made Driver redundant when they entered administration, and his contract would have expired on December 31 in any case. (Daily Record)